contemporary embroidery

Prompt: hear existing Blue afresh

Bluewhirled1
Find something Blue that you created in another time and head/heart/world space.

Sit quietly with your creation.

hear what it might be telling you

in a new way or through a different frame of reference.

Bluewhirled2The pics in this post come from a healing&holding cloth I made about 15 years ago.  Originally it was a personal healing meditation I began after I was first diagnosed with Graves Disease.  Then it led an unexpected traveling offering of love kinda life to be incorporated in a total of 89 different therapeutic situations involving people such as myself, who were thrust into the world of human trafficking by their mother.

there are scary numbers of us.

that person in our life should never

and yet too often do

so i have innumerable sisters and brothers from that same Other kind of mother.

It's a particular kind of primal wounding that cuts very deep

and nearly everyone (especially women) who hears about it

reflexively judges the survivor - or otherwise tries to immediately silence us - for having the temerity to speak such an uncomfortably ugly truth straight out loud without qualm or a sense of personal shame.

so I am proud

as well as humbled

to stand for something else

about being female

and quite thoroughly broken into little pieces

from which I've reassembled something

relatively functional & loving.

Bluewhirled3just reunited with this cloth after a two month time frame of going our own way.  For once I won't have to re-attach anything due to subconscious/anxious twisting when the memories got more congruent and started fusing together.  In the most recent iteration of Blue Whirled's healing life - it spent some time with each of the four Dive participants who will visiting my field as & when throughout this growing season in order to participate in a  'waaaaaaay socially distanced flower essence apprenticeship of sorts. 

an amazing development

and so they have been pondering all the red - that originally was placed as a counterbalance to the 'waaaaaaaaay too much Blue energy that Graves tends to embody at the pragmatic & symptomatic levels - as seeds of a Root chakra nature.  They have been actively rooting their sown seeds of hope that Blue might embrace them in all the ways I know it will.

And we have zoomed a time or five

and I have learned what they see

and what rises up to be healed

and what blue means

to a half-step generation

I didn't know very well

if at all.

before this thing began

and magic was swift to follow

**

truest blue truth ever:

I'm so glad my tangled and carelessly scattered roots leave me open

and fully aware

of how many different things

the word Family

can mean.

love travels, as i always used to say.

I personally dream of a world where it travels a lot more freely

and without quite so many certainties

and mandates

about who is entitled to it

from us, specifically

and who is instead somebody else's

'situation'

to be dealt with

somehow

.

until that better world arises

from the ashes of this one

we will just have to keep on

rockin' it

.


shibori girl yellow, etc.

YellowglennisunopenedYesterday I went through a box in which I pre-sorted a lot of yellow treasures years ago.  I virtually never look in it because I know what's there except, by now, I really don't   since I never look.  Had forgotten the above treasure and find it a perfect meditative visual aid as I continue to vacillate between, as Pam Gregory puts it, clarity and silt.  Gotta say this fantabulous grey is the most gorgeous silt I've ever contemplated!
Yellowshiborigirlopenhuh.  as usual I was scattershot and doing a few things at once.  I thought surely the words on the other side of the white paper background wouldn't show up in these pictures even though I could clearly see them with my eyes.  Also you can see I was digging in pots and plant roots today...

YellowtreasuresFirst thing this morning (3 degrees.  snowing.)  I livened up my consciousness by steam pressing a lot of the treasures I re-connected with from the unexamined box.  More Glennis beauties and a lot of stuff I messed around with on my own, plus some Artemis ribbons, a sheet of wool felt, and a piece of linen it looks like I painted with watered down yellow ochre acrylic paint.  I perceive a lot of destinies but have got to stop thinking like a 30 year old.  A lot of the things I reconnected have the feel of what I had in mind for my braid.

interest was expressed concerning the example braid so here's what that was about:

Rolledscrollin the mid aughts I was part of an international collaborative fiber arts journal project.  A modest group of us worked on Anthologies in which we each picked our own theme and then everyone in the group made a page to fit.   This particular page was for an anthology entitled Blue.  I figured somebody else would riff on Joni Mitchell so I thought about how Blue is everywhere in my home environment because J is blue to the bone and it's soothing up to a point from a mental health point of view.  But am not myself an all-blue person.  Fortunately I happened upon a Van Gogh quote that solved my dilemma:

Thereisnoblue

The unrolled scroll reveals my inspiration.   Part of the request was that we hide a quote in a secret pocket.

ScrollpocketI created a lined pocket partway across the page so it was a little less obvious of a hide.

Blueandorangefrontwoven and embroidered front of page with light beading.  Each person chose the page dimensions.  I added a cloth 'gutter' (orange strip to right) to facilitate a variety of attachment/binding options. 

Backofscrollback of scroll designed as a nod towards Van Gogh's Night Sky Over The Rhone
Secretpocketused water soluble crayons to color the indigo batik.
Orangeandyellowback


something i forgot

Primaryholdingcloth010221Last week I  focused in part on the sacral grace of synchronicity. Right on the first day I suddenly came across this not quite finished piece of heavily encrusted contemporary embroidery. I remembered it once I saw it and with something of a shock to have forgotten it.

The piece in progress is called Primary Nest.  It's a meditation on the three primary chakras and an intended part of a small series.  In the aughts I made some different elaborately embroidered and embellished Holding Cloths intended for healing and meditation purposes.  Not sure how it's possible but I totally forgot about this one.   Have stitched two afternoons in a row.  Hoping to get it finished - meaning all the way backed and the layers made secure together etc - by my birthday.  Super generous time frame.  In the personal best part of my brain I'm hoping to have things there by the end of Heart Chakra month. 

Orangebutterflycorner

PrimaryredThe cloth substrate is pieced dupioni silk:  the red shot with black, the orange shot with magenta, and the yellow shot with white. I don't even know how to guess how many different threads and beads I included.  I do know I bought an expensive silk hydrangea bloom so I could defoliate parts of it for inclusion in the orange and yellow regions of the piece.

Primarybutterflies

Yellowprimary1Finding this work - just as I was heading downstairs and back to the house for the evening  - and then lingering to smooth it down in a pivotal focal point I couldn't miss the next morning - all of that seemed like a personally auspicious way to begin welcoming new energy and fresh perspectives.  There are all sorts of personal secrets buried in the layers of stitching and silk.  For instance the inner red square was fortified early on by a scrim of red fishnet stocking.  I had no idea what I was doing one improvisation to the next - I simply knew I was following a color-centric muse.

OrangebutterflycornerAm hopeful I can get the yellow frame stitched and then cogitate about a cloth to cover the back.  I know if Liz catches this post she'll be glad to know I also plan to show "what the back looks like".

Orangeencrustration1I love working this way although my fingers aren't as nimble as they once were.  So much time at the keyboard has loosened them up enough to enjoy the stitching time.  I am not as precise but I think I can get this finished in a way where the shift in my stitch size, etc. isn't going to be/appear as glaring as it feels to me. 

Much yellow/ego work involved on being authentically willing to show up just as I am rather than as I was 30 years ago.  Or even 16 years ago when I first began building this piece. As I've been stitching in the later afternoon I've been amazed to encounter something I made - something that's over the top in its sole impractical loveliness even for me -  that I'd utterly forgotten.  Two thirds of the way through the Primary Three - it rises to the top of all manner of cloths and raw material.

I am amazed.

amazement is a good yellow attribute ...

joyous amazement.

today I'm bringing back a post entitled bring me the fripperies.  Same general style of excessiveness. 

FlowercornerI don't know why this image is so washed out  The piece's truest colors are visible in the lede image.


examples of shadow eviction

DecemberdevilsDecember is my trigger month.  Simply enumerating the individual 'bad' anniversaries in this concentrated block of time in which 'everyone else' is frenetically doing all the zippy happy things they absolutely always do every single year of their lives can be an exhausting experience for me and whoever [legitimately] asked to hear it.  The piece above is from my Bead Journal Project (BJP) series of 7 inch squares.  It's called, obviously enough, The Devil You Know & The Devil You Don't.  I usually try to photograph it so there's a clear image of my normalcy range/daily life visible within the abnormalcy I've articulated. 

Although it comes from a dark place and I'm sure most if not all the people who usually read here aren't thrilled I posted it yet again as I so often do during this month - this is one of my favorite pieces of work.  Because it DID work both in its resolution and as a very potent form of sacral exorcism.  Resolution-wise there's room to question which devil got vaporized as well as what each devil represents.  Everyone participates as they draw close enough to catch their own face in the two mirrored lenses. Creatively I'm aware I slayed both the devils as I personally named them and a whole bunch of nasty-assed dragons as well.  Most originated at the root level but the blasted oak level of emotional and psychic damage occurred in the second chakra/womb. 

This is true, by the way, for far greater numbers of people than most other people like to contemplate or actively embrace as collective reality.  It's another one of those we're all soaking in it cultural/geo-political experiences.

which is why I continue to post it more Decembers than not.  Because I did - somebody out there is gonna pick up a few creative tools and make something they really need to make in order to understand more about the power they hold and can build upon incrementally and continuously - specifically because of rather than in spite of - the person they've become as a result of the power that was taken from them.

You are out there and you're hell yeah ready to do this.

and that's really all I care about as I write these words and publish the post.

we are not 'the few' but we are certainly the brave.

***

Goodbyeuassholes

Spelling doesn't count in this kind of creative work.  Two people asked if I might illustrate the written prompt about writing things down and then getting the various sentences to the point of breaking down their meanings by breaking down their structure.  My process is underway but what I've done so far should be enough to start your own engine and then keep going.

CrosstalkI wrote the original sentences in a water soluble art crayon and then smeared the orange color around with a wet brush.  Wrote two opposite direction lines of cross talk in a stabilo marker.  Next I'm going in on the diagonal.  First with a metallic orange bronze acrylic paint and once that dries on the opposite direction with some type of pastel orange/salmon craft paint.

not hard at all in terms of execution. 

 And the more honest and forthright you are with yourself the more toxicity you'll release.

see about doing this before the solstice.  Get as far as the eviction.  If you can't manage it before, maybe plan to do the actual tearing into strips on the solstice.

Either option will give you a lot more room to hold a LOT more light ...

Manyfacesmanyphases

Many Faces Many Phases

by Cathy Weaver Taylor

This lunar cycle's artwork for the lunation's 13th cycle of the year.

Namaste


reeling in and gentling down

WhitewatershrineWhite Water Shrine.  Created during the first year of the International Bead Journaling Project.  What a time that was!

Back in the aughts I participated in the first year of a very exciting project.  It was one of those things where you grow so much creatively that you really do feel forever changed.  In my case I also felt in much closer synch with who I was and what I wanted to say with my needleworking skills and shiny-stuff Corvid tendencies.

Can't remember what month this was but I do recall it was a doozy in the emotional upheaval department.  Being of Water and Fire - my emotions either expend themselves in their natural element or evaporate in their own heat.  It's the first expending part of the equation that's difficult.  On like - day two of the second chakra - I'd had enough of myself emotionally.  But it's ultimately good.  Everything that's expended leaves clear space.

***

Last night J and I had our second drawing night. 

Contourdrawings

He who can actually draw is working exclusively with Celtic border and medallion designs.  It's something he's always wanted to do and a thing he told me about on our very first date.  I'm working in a very informal botanical art journal.  At the very end of the first drawing night I realized I wanted to make tiny sepia colored ditsy flowers around the blind contour drawings of trisomic stocks and euphorbia  flowers.  There are also ill-placed patches of leftover gilding flakes that 'had to go SOMEwhere' before the adhesive dried and they wound up wasted.  The upside is that they're pretty in a holographic kind of way especially in natural light. 

CompassionbloompagesI used up leftover paint making this desert in bloom quit a while ago.  During the first drawing night I outlined stuff with a fine tip india ink art pen.  I will say more about this book because interest has already been expressed.  There are people participating who can't draw but would like to record their botanical experiences in a visual way.  Am somewhat confident and twice as hopeful that I'll be able to inspire you.

SweetfernAlso worked further on this spread.  Had the We'moon datebook calendar cut-out and a special friend's handwriting sample in place - added the drippy stencils a couple days ago just to get some orange on the board.  Added everything blue last night.

***

This week  - my spontaneous/whether i like it or not sacral clearing-out process has been beyond intense.  Partway through the weekend I decided I couldn't continue with my novel because the strategy of saving emotionally challenging material as I have was kicking my ass too brutally to continue.  I ran this all by J who (I'm presuming ...) knew/hoped I'd go through a few evolutions of emo-excess and then settle down.  It was a really uncomfortable day and a half.  

Then I recalled a solid quarter of my draft that's been cooling its heels for two months.  Opened the files and started reading.  A couple days in I felt solid enough that told I J it didn't seem as impossible as it had when I was crying all the time. 

and i understand the section header i felt so inclined not to have somebody steal.  that's probably the book's actual title, is why.    all progress and validation of a sort...

RedsquareworkA sympathetic working in progress on my coffee table altar space.  My interest in using the red corduroy relates to the black tracings of negative infiltration.  This was a big improvement over my sense of bullet-riddled/swiss cheese non-existence of the energy center.  Through the few weeks I've been doing this, I've also been meditating with visualizations of adding Light-fueld red energy to infuse the points that feel missing. 

next I'll post the orange/turquoise attachment weaving sampler in detail.

AttachCU


life/work/review: contemporary embroidery sampler

Firstsampler  This is the first thing I embroidered after about thirty years of 'silence' - I think in '02.  Took an online contemporary embroidery class with Sharon Boggon who is both a gifted needlewoman and first rate teacher.  This is not what we were 'supposed' to do but I had a very good time obsessively reviewing many threads online before choosing a handful for the class.  We were supposed to make little four inch squares.  Every week my pieces got larger.  This is postcard size.

Samplehalf1

years after the fact I colored in the too-blank linen with water soluble crayons.  used stamp ink pads to color beyond the stitched border.  I want to use it as a lining for the inner lid of wooden treasure box.

Sampler2
I'm still writing on the daily as my main work of the day but only 7-8 hours spread over the day and evening.  10 or 11 hours day in and day out is no longer sustainable.  Summer's long gone and my crown's taking a bit of a nap.  My main goal for this week relates to getting my studio in far better order. The large houseplants are back up here.  Getting them settled gave me new eyes far more focused on reality:  everything everywhere up here was a disorganized disASter.  Was horrified to take it in until I recalled that up until I widened my frame none of the disaster had mattered as it layered and accumulated over itself -  It didn't matter even a jot.  My landscape has been strictly internal and enormous in scope.  As long as I could walk around without hurting myself or any of the things I wasn't falling over - I figured I was good.

Now that I've stepped back before diving into everything of a storytelling nature that needs doing right before all the emotionally charged and technically difficult stuff I left 'for last'.  It's like I'm approximately six months pregnant - permanently.  So I'm intent to be done enough that I've also decided what to do or not do about it all - by the end of '21. We'll see how that goal pans out.  For now it feels solid and do-able on my end.  All the existential variables however ...

Favesmaplerdeet.


bring me the fripperies

Deetone

Liz asked to see more of my handwork.  Am currently carrying this small piece (spring nest) roundabout our home looking for a place that feels like a good fit for short term display.  The layer upon layer of glittering and shiny beads and glistening embroidery threads are a conscious homage to my inner Crow spirit.

Springnest

Have at times hung this as a backdrop for a seasonal/spring altar.  But right now I want it to be in my ongoing line of vision while I contemplate how much I want to de-construct this type of layered story-telling so it's more in line with my shifted sensibilities and things we might all create in a collective thrall of expressive call and response with our shifting species-level consciousness.

Deettwo

It's very true that pretty is as it does. 

Even more true:  sometimes it's just fun on rocket fuel.